To show police he was upset after the death of a wood chipper, Gregory Lee Roser thought of his dead mother, a court has heard.
Roser, 63, and Sharon Graham, 61, have pleaded not guilty to murder after Bruce Saunders died while working on a property north of Brisbane in November 2017.
The jury has retired to consider its verdict in week five of Roser’s trial before Justice Martin Burns in the Brisbane Supreme Court.
The Crown alleges that Graham asked Roser and another lover Peter Koenig to kill her former partner Mr. Saunders, 54, and make it look like an accident in an attempt to claim his $750,000 life insurance policy.
Footage has been shown of Mr Saunders’ leg sticking out of the chipper on the Goomboorian property near Gympie after clearing trees with Roser and Koenig.
Gregory Lee Roser (left), 63, and Sharon Graham (right), 61, have pleaded not guilty to murder after Bruce Saunders died while working on a property north of Brisbane in November 2017
Roser does not dispute Mr Saunders was murdered, but says Koenig is the killer and claims he ‘shamefully’ helped dispose of the body.
However, Crown prosecutor David Meredith told a jury they should have genuine doubts about anything Roser says, citing a police taped conversation from January 2018.
In the recording, Koenig asked Roser how he reacted to being shown gruesome photographs of the murder scene during a police interview, suggesting his facial expressions would be analyzed.
“When they showed me the photographs … I started to feel sad about the photographs and I started thinking about my dead mother,” Roser said.
Mr. Saunders (pictured) was murdered and left with his legs sticking out of a chipper
Meredith told the jury: ‘He had to summarize the worry about his dead mother so he could show apparent anguish at seeing Bruce’s body.
“(And) remember … he helped … put Bruce’s body in the chipper so it would come as no surprise to him the gruesome photographs.”
Roser previously told the court that Graham had come up with several plans over several months to kill Mr Saunders, but he denied.
But Mr Meredith said: ‘He didn’t make it clear that he didn’t want to do it, he just turned them down on the basis that the plans were stupid.
‘Why would she continue to approach him unless she thought he was a candidate to do it (kill Mr Saunders).
“He might have rejected the means but not the ends.”
In the Brisbane Supreme Court on Wednesday, Roser (left) told the court he thought of his dead mother when he was shown photographs of Mr Saunders in the chipper.
Roser told the court Graham eventually came up with a plan to kill Mr Saunders while he was clearing trees and incorporated the chipper, but again he refused.
But Mr Meredith told the jury that Roser believed the possibility of accidental death was more reasonable if they try to claim Mr Saunders’ money, saying “she (Graham) cannot collect if she is a murderer”.
He said Roser was an obvious candidate to be the killer because he was desperate for a relationship and eager to please Graham, and dismissed claims that Koenig was responsible.
The quiet, pony-tailed Koenig denied he was a killer when he gave evidence earlier, claiming Roser had bludgeoned Mr Saunders with a metal bar before feeding the body through the chipper.
Crown prosecutor David Meredith said Roser was an obvious candidate to be the killer because he was desperate for a relationship and eager to please Graham, rejecting claims that Peter Koenig (pictured) was responsible
Roser told the court he only agreed to help dispose of the body because he feared Koenig, who he claimed had Mafia connections.
‘Peter Koenig part of the mafia? You’ve seen him, he doesn’t look like a criminal mastermind at all,’ said Mr Meredith.
Roser said he feared he would ‘end up like Bruce’ if he didn’t help Koenig with the body.
Roser said he feared he would ‘end up like Bruce’ (pictured) if he didn’t help Koenig with the body
“How could he possibly think that Koenig will kill him too and put him through the chipper?” said Mr. Meredith.
‘Would anyone believe there are two accidental deaths? To adopt a famous line from Oscar Wilde, to lose a friend through a chipper is unfortunate, to lose two is incredible.’
Graham successfully filed for a separate lawsuit.